Engine

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This is how the engine compartment looked when the car arrived. Rust and corrosion everywhere, and to top it off, the radiator was full of acorns.

Pulling the cam cover, however, it didn’t look so bad. What I found was an engine with apparently very low mileage.

Virtually no wear on the cam lobes
Block insides – surprisingly clean for a car that was parked for 47 years
No piston scuffing – and the bearing shells looked good.
The main bearing shells almost look new
Everything was within spec.

There was one depressing area. The 47-year-old coolant had done a number on the insides of the block and head.

Muriatic acid did the trick.

The block full of Muriatic Acid (Powerful stuff!)

Reassembling the engine with new piston rings, gaskets and seals. Given that they were only barely broken in, I reused the bearing shells.

Assembled bottom end

However, I did replace the early Ford connecting rods with much stronger forged items with ARP bolts. This was a well-known weak area in the early twin cams.

The Oil Pump

With the twin cam mounted in a Right Hand Drive (RHD) Elite, the oil pump and steering shaft find themselves competing for the same real estate in the engine compartment.

Something had to give, so Lotus’ solution was to space the pump out from the engine block with an aluminum spacer.

The extended oil pump

However when I took the pump apart, I discovered that the shaft was in two pieces, coupled with a tab and slot. (Bottom of photo below.)

This rather marginal coupling does not instill much confidence in the oil pump drive, and I think it explains why there is a large oil pressure warning lamp mounted near the shift lever.

My original assumption was that the two-piece shaft was to compensate for misalignment.  However when I bolted them together, the alignment of the spacer and pump bores were perfect.

So now I think this is yet another example of the rushed engine installation job.  The two parts of the original shaft were cannibalized from two different pumps.

So be that as it may, the two shafts have now been replaced with a single one.

Oil pump mounting bolts

The lengthened mounting bolts

What makes these bolts interesting is that they are each made up of two bolts welded together!

Was this because they were rushed?

Consider this passage:

“‘Nonsense’ cried the Great One. ‘Get an Elite kit delivered to Team Lotus after lunch, get a twin cam from production and deliver that to Team Lotus.  They’ll open the bonnet, lower it in, cobble together whatever needs cobbling – then we can see what we’re doing.’  Five days later the first twin cam Elite was on the road.”

The return of the Elite by Nick Brittan:

It’s a good bet that having the proper bolts shipped in would have cost an additional day or two.

November 27, 2016

The engine runs!

Here’s a video:

The Twin Cam Engine on the Dyno – 105Hp!